I’m Black, but I Want to Join the DAR. Help!

Tracing Your Roots: She traced her Revolutionary War roots via an early AME bishop and needs tips for applying.

Bishop Jabez Pitt Campbell and Mary Campbell
Bishop Jabez Pitt Campbell and Mary Campbell State Archives of Florida, Forida Memory

Dear Professor Gates:

I have reason to believe that I can connect myself to the Daughters of the American Revolution. I am just having the toughest time making the provable connection. My great-great-grandfather Nicholas Jackson Jr. (born around 1865 in Howard County, Md.) was married to Nettie Derrickson (born around July 1872). Derrickson’s mother was Nellie A. Shockley (born around 1844), and Shockley’s mother was Nettie Jane Young (born around 1814). Young’s sister was Catherine Young (born March 6, 1796, in Slaughter Neck, Sussex, Del.), who was married to Anthony Campbell. They had a son named Jabez Pitt Campbell (born Feb. 15, 1815, in Slaughter Neck). Jabez Pitt Campbell was the eighth bishop of the African American Episcopal Church. 

Because of his high title in the church and the community, Jabez had several things written about him. He was quoted as saying, “I was born in Slaughter-Neck, Sussex County, Delaware, February 5, 1815. My father’s name was Anthony, the son of Frances by Sydney Campbell; my mother’s name is Catharine, the daughter of Phillip, by Rosanna, sometimes called Townsend but more commonly called Young, being the names of two masters successively. Both of my grandfathers were soldiers in the Revolutionary War. My father was converted at an early age, also my mother, both of whom were the children of pious parents.”

Jabez Pitt Campbell would be my first cousin, five times removed. If this is true, then can I become a member of the DAR? Ky’a Jackson

Meet Jabez Pitt Campbell

According to Colored Conventions at the University of Delaware, Jabez Pitt Campbell was a venerated leader of the AME church and “an advocate of African American civil liberties.” Though born free to formerly enslaved parents, he was nearly enslaved himself. Writes Colored Conventions:

Campbell’s parents were previously owned by a Methodist Minister, whose aid passed and left in his will that the Campbell family be given freedom … Captain Pierce, a slave owner in Delaware attempted to buy Jabez as his slave. Because Jabez’s parents denied the offer, Pierce misleadingly sold Jabez’s parents a condemned yacht, taking Jabez as a security deposit. When the boat came apart during its first voyage, Pierce had legally become Jabez’s owner. In the midst of Pierce’s plan to send Jabez to a different plantation, Campbell overheard the plan and escaped on a vessel to Philadelphia two days before the plan went into effect.

In Philadelphia, Campbell worked odd jobs during his teen years. At one point he was “bound out by his father” to a merchant tailor named Spencer Dewees, according to an 1886 article in the Christian Recorder, an AME newspaper. Around 1832 he managed to buy “the remainder of his time” and put himself through a Quaker high school. Soon after, he became a minister.

Campbell’s career highlights included being the second editor of the Christian Recorder and president of the trustee board of Wilberforce University in Ohio (the oldest private HBCU), and receiving honorary degrees from Wilberforce and the University of Pennsylvania. He died in Philadelphia in 1891.

How to Join DAR